Saturday, December 26, 2009

All I Want for Christmas is...

After everyone left on Christmas Eve, Santa arrived at the Lounge. He always does that on Christmas Eve, shows up after everybody else is gone, probably to avoid the crowds and the fuss so he can enjoy his dirty martini in peace. No one notices the reindeer and sleigh parked in the alley now that Leah built the alley fortress doors.

Santa looked pretty healthy and happy and rosy-cheeked. Vitamin D supplements, he said, got rid of those pesky leg cramps and keeps his seasonal affective disorder at bay.

What do you want for Christmas this year, he asked as he fished the olives out of his martini and popped them in his mouth. Have you been good? I avoided the second question. World peace, I said. The elves are already working on it, said Santa, but it's gonna take awhile. I said, the only other thing I want for Christmas is a few more blog subscribers.

Santa tipped his head back and drained his martini. Done and done, he said. He gave me a big kiss (on the mouth!) and disappeared into the night.

The next day, I woke up and found an automated email waiting in my inbox: has subscribed to your blog.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Bourbon Balls

(Hee-hee, I just said "balls...")

If Felicia is going to bake Christmas cookies for the Lounge Christmas eve party, which she is, then they are going to contain booze. Enter Mom. Mom first made these bourbon balls in 1983. ("We let you kids eat them - do you think that was okay? It was only a half-cup of whiskey.")

Like all bourbon and rum ball recipes, this recipe contains Nilla Wafers. (I'd love to hear your recipes if you've ever made them from scratch.) And like all good cookie recipes, it starts with a glass of wine.Bourbon Balls

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 Tablespoons corn syrup
1/2 cup bourbon (I used Makers Mark)
2 and 1/2 cups finely crushed Nilla Wafers
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 cup nuts (I used pecans)
granulated sugar

1. Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler. I made a makeshift double boiler out of a pan and a metal bowl.2. Remove from heat and add corn syrup and bourbon, mixing thoroughly.

3. In a separate bowl, combine vanilla wafers, confectioners sugar and nuts.
4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix thoroughly.5. Cover and let stand 3o minutes. Don't skip this step!

6. Form into 1 inch balls and roll in sugar.7. If you can stand waiting, let the balls season in the fridge for a few days before eating them.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Holiday Gift Ideas

'Tis the Season To Be Thrifty
by Amelia Sauter, Ithaca NY

Until the root canal, my partner and I were able to buffer the effects of the recession on our checking account. Then came a second root canal. I found myself getting anxious about the holidays, and like many other Americans, wondering how I was going to buy people gifts this year.

While lying awake in the middle of the night with a hot flash, I came up with a few ideas that I thought I’d share with others who might be shaking in their Uggs at the thought of pulling out the plastic and racking up more debt:

1) Make homemade pancake mix. The people I love are getting ball jars of my famous pancake mix this year, topped with big bows and instructions to add milk and eggs. You can even use Bisquick. They’ll never know.

2) Don’t have children. They’re expensive, they’re messy, and once you let them in the house, it’s hard to get rid of them. Like stray cats. Offer a sympathy bowl of milk to a flea-infested feline who cries at your door and next thing you know it’s sleeping on your pillow. So plan ahead, since the holidays are just a few short weeks away, and don’t have children. And if it’s too late, well, you can save money this Christmas by wrapping your children up and giving them away.

3) Tell your friends you have decided to embrace the spiritual side rather than the commercial side of the holidays, and that you are lighting a votive candle in the their honor. Om shanti.

4) Send electronic holiday cards. Not only is it easier and cheaper, you also get bonus points when you proclaim that you are making a difference in the world by saving trees.

5) Give coupons for gifts you can personally fulfill, like a foot massage or babysitting. When your friends ask to redeem them, say, “I didn’t give you that coupon. I’ve never seen it before in my life.”

6) Don’t drink and shop! I’ve been known to recommend a shot of tequila to take the edge off holiday shopping, but this is to help you spend money, not save it. Alcohol helps you muster up holiday joy instead of bah humbugs so when you’re packed in Walmart, I mean, Greenstar with all the other last minute shoppers, their children running amock (see #2), you won’t feel the urge to beat anyone with a loofah.

When we owe $3K to the dentist, I just can’t justify buying Christmas lights or a plush talking Dug that doesn’t even say “Squirrel!” You’ll have to rent the movie Up if you don’t know who Dug is. Or better yet, save your money for votive candles and Bisquick.

copyright Amelia Sauter 2009

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Mixology Monday: Eggnog Martini

Folks, it's time for Mixology Monday again. Head on over to Beers in the Shower where a roundup will be posted in a couple of days or so.

My contribution is the Eggnog Martini, because everybody needs eggnog. We feel compelled to drink eggnog at least once a year during the holidays. Maybe it's the festive thing to do. Even if you don't love eggnog, tradition trumps taste buds.

The Eggnog Latte Martini, which adds Starbucks liquor, is a caffeine-filled alternative. Or simultaneously simplify and upgrade to a premium spirit by drinking eggnog with Jameson in your morning coffee. Like I'm doing right now.

Unrelated side note: I tried to enjoy a cachaca margarita last night. Don't drink cachaca after you've been painting your studio all day. Cachaca smells surprisingly similar to latex paint. I had no idea. But now I do. Trust me.

Related side note: Is eggnog one word, or two?

Eggnog Martini

1 and 1/2 ounces Stoli vanilla vodka
4 ounces eggnog
Dash of nutmeg

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with ground nutmeg.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Local Lover Challenge

This year for Christmas, I'm giving my friends and family members a root canal. Actually, two root canals. In Leah's mouth. But if I pretend I have money leftover, then I am going gonzo for the Local Lover Challenge.

Over 70 businesses in Ithaca are involved this year (including Greenstar, Tuff Soul Clothing, Finger Lakes Reuse, Rasa Spa and Red Feet Wines). All you have to do is stop in at a participating store - like Felicia's - pick up a cute little card, then get it stamped at four more stores. Hand in your card, and you are eligible to win prizes. You get to support the local economy, have fun shopping at your favorite places, and win free stuff. Better than a root canal.

Tomorrow, December 10th, you can save 10% at more than 30 stores. For up-to-date specials, you can follow Local First Ithaca on Facebook. While you're at it, better follow Felicia on Facebook, too. And practice good oral hygiene.

Stumble Upon Toolbar